I was meeting a friend of mine for drinks the other day. Before we headed out, she needed to move some things to her car. Being the friend I am, I offered to help. Part of the load was a live edge wood table with metal legs that needed to be disassembled. While she did that, I folded up some chairs and collected and bagged several tools. There was also a sign that needed to go into her car which I rolled up and put it in its plastic sleeve. I had with me, my purse and a shopping bag full of items I had just purchased. I gathered the three chairs, tool bag, signage bag, my shopping bag, my purse and another bag of hers. I watched as she bent her knees and lifted the table and legs in one fluid movement. I followed behind her schlepping and dragging my load. I was huffing and puffing and thought to myself, Well this is the thanks I get for offering to help! Here I am lugging almost everything, and she is just carrying that damn table!
To add to my annoyance, I had sweat dripping down my brow, and I could feel my armpits staining. I looked ahead to my dear friend who appeared so unwavering and jovial. Jovial? Could she not see my struggle? Could she not hear me exerting all the strength I had?
I casually said to her, "Hey, ah, Ashley, do you mind carrying my bag for me? It will help me get a better grip on YOUR chairs!"
Ashley responded, "Ah sure, let me balance this table and can you just put it into my hand, so I don't have to let go?"
I was feeling a little smug and thinking, now this evens our loads a bit more.
As we finally got to the car, Ashley put down the table top, legs, and my bag, as I released my contents in one big crash. I was groaning as I tried to get circulation back into my fingers and then used my hands to massage my lower back. I said I would pass her the items so she could arrange them in her car. She asked me to give her the table and legs first. I handed her the legs one at a time since they were solid metal and a bit awkward to pass to her. Then I went to pick up the table top. I couldn't lift it! This solid piece of wood must have weighed almost 100 lbs!
"Ashley!" I exclaimed, "How in the world did you lift this?"
She responded with a laugh, "Did I have a choice?"
Together, we picked up and stowed the table, then loaded the rest of her stuff into her car.
I asked her, "Why did you offer to take my package?"
She simply said, "Because I knew you needed help."
I replied: "Had I known how heavy your load was I would never have asked you for help!"
It was evident that we both carried our loads very differently: she with grace and determination, and me outwardly showing my displeasure and amplifying how heavy my load was.
I pondered how we all carry our loads; whether emotional baggage, stress or physical burdens. We can do it with a sense of quiet fortitude with no one knowing the extent of our hardship, or we can carry on letting everyone near know how we struggle every single day. Like me, we may even amplify our struggles for people to either feel sorry for us or maybe in the hopes that someone will offer to help.
Ashley taught me a valuable lesson. No matter what life deals me, I can handle it with silent determination and steadfast composure. And even when my load is strenuous I can still offer to help a friend in need.
#friendship #stress #baggage #determination #steadfast #girlfriends #depression